Coffee Day Enterprises likely to face hurdles in asset monetisation efforts

CDEL has taken various measures to monetise its assets in order to pare its total debt.
Coffee Day Enterprises (CDEL) is likely to face stumbling blocks in its asset monetisation efforts, with reports surfacing that Rs 2,000 crore of cash from the books of accounts were missing. However, sources said promoters’ group was likely to come up with some mitigation measures, including paying for the short fall in funds over a period of time.

“The company doesn’t have the report yet, which is expected by the end of this month. In case of any shortfall, the promoters’ family is likely to step in and compensate for the shortfall,” said sources familiar with the development. “It is likely to happen over a period of time,” the person said.

According to a media report on Sunday, an investigation by the board after the death of founder V G Siddhartha is likely to conclude that around Rs 2,500 crore is missing from CDEL’s accounts. The draft report has also found out several transactions between the founder’s listed and personal businesses, which were not conducted at arm’s length, the report stated.

Usually, instances of missing cash and related party transactions lead to restatement of books of accounts apart from creating liabilities for the board and the auditor. However, sources said restatement of accounts might not be required as CDEL has only provided unaudited numbers for the past two quarters of the ongoing financial year. “We will inform the regulators about the findings of the report once it is out,” said a source in the company.

The company, in response to a detailed mail, said, “The promoter family was not involved in the business at the time of V G Siddhartha’s untimely demise. They stepped in to assume responsibility of the large and diversified business on the fifth day of the tragedy.” The company statement also said the promoter family and management were fully cooperating with the investigation but oblivious to its outcome as their priority is to keep the business running in a challenging environment and meet all stakeholder commitments.

Meanwhile, CDEL has taken various measures to monetise its assets in order to pare its total debt, which stood at Rs 4,970 crore by the end of July last year. It is learnt to have received the first tranche of payment from private equity major Blackstone and realty firm Salarpuria Sattva Group as part of its agreement to sell Global Village Tech Park.

“There are serious interests from private equity majors such as Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs in CDEL’s retail and vending businesses. The company is likely to close a deal soon,” said a source.

Currently, trading in CDEL’s shares remains suspended as the company was not able to submit its audited financial statements in time. The company has sought more time from regulators for submission of audited results citing non-completion of internal investigations.

In August last year, the company has assigned Ashok Kumar Malhotra, retired DIG of the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate into the purported letter written by V G Siddhartha. He was also assigned to scrutinise the books of accounts of the company with the help of an accounting firm.

Paying the price

*Investigation report expected to be submitted by March-end
*Report likely to establish missing cash, related-party transactions
*This could potentially lead to scrutinisation of past board decisions
*Promoter’s family likely to work as the white knight to compensate for any shortfall

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel